Meet the Cardrona Parks Squad ski coaches! The team is internationally flavoured, highly-qualified & includes some of New Zealand’s best freeski coaches.
Pete grew up in Poprad, Slovakia but has called Wanaka home for a long time now & considers himself an honorary half Kiwi. He is stoked whenever snow is falling & his dream skiing destination is Alaska. Pete is inspired by anyone who gives it 100% & his most memorable mountain moment is the Kaumatua opening the season at Cardrona last year.
Pete was a professional mogul athlete back in the day, but made the move into freeski coaching as the sport exploded in popularity. Pete has coached a large number of New Zealand athletes to the top of the sport who have become known on the international freeski stage. He has coached a few of the current HPC Parks Squad coaches & continues to work with high performance athletes as well as younger developing athletes. He has his Masters in Physical Education from the University of Commenius Bratislava, Slovakia. His countless seasons coaching freeskiing & his own personal competitive history make him an invaluable member of the HPC team. Pete loves coaching because he’s stoked to see athletes progress & he thinks a holistic approach to athlete development is of utmost importance.
Thanks to: Cardrona for providing world-class training facilities year in & year out.
Luke grew up in San Luis Obispo in California & has been based between Mammoth Mountain, Japan & Cardrona for the last few years. Luke is a fully-certified freestyle coach & ski instructor, training freestyle in Mammoth & Niseko, & coaching at Cardrona. He discovered his passion for working with kids in the rock climbing community in 2010. In 2012 he transitioned to the ski world & hasn't looked back!
Luke has been an avid skier since first discovering the snow, an avid park skier since first discovering the terrain park years & years ago, & is now chasing winters around the world to feed the addiction.
Sam learned to ski when he was two & a half years old. Since then he's skied every winter in NZ, plus a bunch of Northern Hemisphere winters. As a kid, Sam ski raced for eight years before switching to Freeride at the age of 16. Each year he competed in more competitions & along the way realised his goal of making it onto the Freeride World Tour. Last year, Sam qualified for the Freeride World Tour, & just finished his first season on the tour – successfully re-qualifying for 2018!
Along the way to FWT qualification, Sam also trained as a ski instructor straight out of high school, & has worked at Cardrona since then. He has progressed to Parks Squad coaching over the past couple of years. Sam loves skiing & thinks it's super cool to be able to share that passion with young rippers who want to improve their skills & learn about competing!
Hamish has been skiing for 24 years, & competing for 12. He has a Bachelor of Law & a Bachelor of Commerce (cos he's a giant nerd). He uses neither of these degrees, instead choosing to coach skiing at Cardrona & top level athletes at the X Games & World Cups, & tune skis for the Waxroom & Snow Sports NZ. What a legend.
Kendall grew up & learned to ski in Wanaka & Cardrona. She started instructing & following winters in 2013, going on to coach Oakley women's progression sessions, Cardrona chicks in the park, GoSnow (Japan) freestyle clinics, & Cardrona Parks Squad. She has judged the NZ Junior Nationals for both halfpipe & slopestyle. She is a qualified ski instructor & freestyle coach, & a pizza enthusiast.
Dane grew up on a dairy farm in the Waikato. Pretty far away from any snow, he didn't get into skiing until about age 10, making weekend trips to Ruapehu with his family, following his older brother around the mountain. He now spends his Southern Hemisphere seasons in Wanaka, skiing at Cardrona, & his Northern Hemisphere seasons in Colorado, at Breckenridge & Keystone. He's travelled all over North America & a little in Europe while following the competition circuit.
The best days for Dane are spent riding the Cardrona rail line when no-one else is out, just lapping with a friend or two. He's inspired by skiers who are able to go out & enjoy themselves no matter the facilities or weather, just get creative & have fun, portraying a slightly more accessible image of skiing & the ski lifestyle. When he's not skiing he enjoys skating, surfing & being in the outdoors.
Dane loves skiing & wants to share his stoke with as many people as he can. He thinks enjoyment is the biggest factor in creating progression & likes to promote a low stress, encouraging environment for kids to learn.
George grew up skiing on the East Coast of the USA. Also known as the "ice coast", concrete jump landings pushed him to hit more rails – as a result, he's a great rail skier. His take away from those days is that there's no such thing as a "bad" day, just bad ways to use it. He always challenges himself & the athletes he works with to find a silver lining to any day, & exploit it.
George graduated with a BA in Political Science in 2015. He's been coaching in Breckenridge for two winters now, & loves his job because he wakes up stoked every day. His dream ski destination is Cardrona & he can't wait for his first winter in NZ! George thinks a good coach inspires curiosity & helps athletes find the right questions to ask – he thinks everyone needs a Gandalf or a Dumbledore. He loves finding out how to connect & best coach all the athletes he works with. He believes a positive attitude is a key trait in any good skier.
Alec started skiing when he was 8 years old in Queenstown, NZ. He has competed at a top level nationally & internationally, representing NZ at FIS World Cup Slopestyle events. He's passionate about the outdoors & the sports associated with them.
Coaching is something Alex enjoys immensely as he gets to share his love for the sport with the younger generation. Having received a large amount of quality coaching over the years, he feels it gives him an advantage in the sense he knows what can work & how to go about achieving progressive outcomes with different individuals.
Jussi's last name means ski boot in Finnish. He started skiing at the age of 7. In his early years he enjoyed a variety of snow sports. With a background of racing & snowboarding, Jussi focused more on freeskiing at the age of 18. A familiar face on the European skiing scene, he competed mostly in Slopestyle but his real passion was working on film crews. Jussi has been coaching last seven years & last two of those full time at Ruka Freeski Academy.
Kat grew up in Alameda, California & now calls Mammoth home. She has been skiing since she was 3 years old, & skiing competitively for the last 4 years. Kat is the back to back Rev Tour overall Slopestyle champ & has competed at World Cup & other Slopestyle events. She trains with the Mammoth Freeski Team in the Northern Hemisphere winters.
This is Kat's third season coaching – she's a veteran coach at Windells, Mt Hood & this is her second season at Cardrona. She is always stoked on winter & getting to ski in so many new & awesome places. She loves coaching because it's awesome to see athletes stomp new tricks & progress.
Kerr (Gaelic for snowbadger) is a Scottish lad who started skiing at the ripe age of 3 at the local golf course. He started out as a ski racer with the Cairngorm Ski Club, & originally coached at Cardrona with the Cardrona Alpine Ski Team. Kerr has been getting himself into trouble since he was a young ski racer, sneaking off to play on jumps between race laps, & it hasn't stopped as he's gotten older. Now he gets to feed his park skiing addiction with the Parks Squad, making the transition across to freestyle coaching this season. Kerr reckons there's not much better than finishing a day on skis with a single malt whiskey. His philosophy is to ski fast, ski everywhere & ski well.